Sunday, April 30, 2006

Jacob Donovan

Here he is! My new nephew! 6 pounds 11 ounces. April 25th!! What a cutie. Thank the Lord for Life.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Home for the Weekend

I went straight from the Greyhound station to Joy's house! My new nephew Jacob Donovan was born on Tuesday!!! He's sooooo adorable. I arrived late in the evening, so he was asleep. I can't wait to see him tomorrow when he's awake. They say he's a whiner. Ha ha!
This week was challening because it was really exhausting. I really began to see the fruits of the Divine Mercy Novena when I got back on site last Sunday though. Wowee, the Holy Spirit can work so quickly. I also had a fun experience with my own vanity this week. It's so strange....all you have to do is let your guard down for a second and give in to vanity or pride and you leave yourself open to attack, to a flood of doubts, to self-pity, and feelings of abandonment or loneliness which can only be relieved with humility and faith. Sometimes it seems as though the most difficult thing you can do in the world is turn your eyes to God. When you're overwhelmed, to focus and put blinders on to the world is like putting a hat on in a windstorm. We're so stupid sometimes as people that we forget that all we have to do is step under the shelter of the Lord. Lord, please laugh at my feebleness and have mercy on me.
Today after we had communion service at camp I got to deal with the altar cloths and cleanup of the vessels. I accidentally volunteered for it. It was either that or they'd have to call this lady to drive out to do it because we didn't have a priest with us. I've never even been an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist before! I've just watched closely and listened to my friends who have been sacristans before. As far as I know (I called people and checked too) I did everything right. Sorry if I messed up Jesus, have mercy on my ignorance....Ecclesia Sufficit?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Short, but cool and hilarious weekend.

So this weekend was pretty fun. It's shorter than my usual 3 day weekends (yes I'm at camp right now and we start tomorrow) but it was chillax and fun. Brett (my world youth day travelling/college campus ministry buddy) picked me up from camp on Friday evening and we drove over to his dad's cabin/mansion/rustic german looking house in Lake Stevens and had a (George Foreman) BBQ with a couple friends of his. His dad was away for the weekend and mom was a little overwhelmed with stuff so he thought it best we stay there. Let me just tell you that this place was incredible. I'm not talking like ritzy and fancy or anything like that, but it's just one of those places you read about in kids books. There's this huge german looking house that his dad built in the woods that has 5 acres surrounding it. There's random rope swings everywhere, a greenhouse, a garden, a firepit with benches, an orchard, a stream with this cool bridge over it, a little cabin that's powered by solar panels, there's a great deck overlooking it all....ah. It was pretty sweet. Basically I want to buy this place from Brett's dad and start a Benedictine Abbey for women there..... So yeah, had a bbq and a few chill drinks on Friday night, woke up to an amazing sunny warm day on Saturday. Went down to the stream and did lauds and just breathed in heavy and deep. It's amazing what doing lauds has done for my morning personality. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a night owl and am a complete zombie in the mornings, but after doing lauds I feel light as air and alert. It's so great. Nothing like a little God to start your day. We had breakfast on the deck in the sunshine, Brett took me on a full tour of the house and property, and then we headed out to see Michael Gunn.
Went to confession, went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, went to the Five Point in downtown Seattle and caught up with Michael G. and Colleen, and watched a ridiculous Canadian movie starring David Hasselhoff as a former cowboy who lives in Calgary (it was ridiculous, I fell asleep at the end). This morning we went to mass at OLPH which was Brett's home parish growing up and then went out to lunch with his mom. She was really cute. Just chatty and really bubbly and open, I can see where Brett's personality comes from. Anywhoo, after that we went to the Divine Mercy prayers and a bit of adoration at OLPH before he took me back to camp. All in all a refreshing, random, and absolutely hilarious weekend hanging out with Brett and Michael Gunn. Thanks guys.
Tomorrow we start the long string of max capacity sessions. We're going to have over 100 students every week from now until June. Crazy! It should be really fun though. I've decided to start actively placing God in my lessons and in all of my language while teaching all this ecology stuff. It's weird, I always wanted to while I worked at Evans Lake, but it was a secular camp so I couldn't. I volunteered and worked there for 8 years and just got stuck leaving God out. These first few weeks at CYO I've just been teaching the stuff like I always do until my Assistant Director asked me if I had been putting God into my lesson which I answered with a surprize "No actually." It was sort of a "Duh! You can do that now!" moment for me. So woohoo!! God and the Environment out in full force! Yesss!!
Also, I've been checked out, I'm not a wacko and can come to visit St. Walburga's for sure. The sisters have given me the best dates to come and told me to start checking travel plans. Woohoo!!! So exciting!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Real Art

This beautiful painting was sent to me by my friend Jon. It's of young Mary. I don't know what the title of the painting is, but it's so beautiful. I hope the artist (who I also don't know) doesn't mind me sharing her with you all.
"Oh most pure and loving heart,
of My Mother and My Queen
Grant that I may love thee,
love thee daily more and more.
Grant that I may love thee,
love thee daily more and more."

Sunday, April 16, 2006


+The Lord is risen, alleluia.
+The splendor of Christ risen from the dead has shone on the people redeemed by his blood, alleluia.
+Our Redeemer has risen from the tomb; let us sing a hymn of praise to the Lord our God, alleluia.
+Alleluia, the Lord is risen as he promised, alleluia.
+This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad, alleluia.
+Very early on the morning after the Sabbath, when the sun had just risen, they came to the tomb, alleluia.
+Christ has risen from the dead and will never die again, alleluia.
+He was handed over to death for our sins;he was raised to life to justify us, alleluia.
+Since you have been raised to life with Christ, seek the things that are above, alleluia.
+Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the Lord's tomb, alleluia.
+Come and see the place where the Lord was buried, alleluia.
+Jesus said: Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see me, alleluia.
+This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad, alleluia

God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today
raise us up and renew our lives
by the Spirit that is within us.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Happy Easter!! God Bless!

Easter Sunday Antiphons from Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours

Saturday, April 15, 2006


(image from

Plans are underway. I've made contact. After I send them some info on myself to make sure I'm not a wacko, I can sign up to visit. They're expecting a visit in July. It's only $287.00 to fly from Seattle to Denver. Now getting from Denver to Virginia Dale is the problem. Ooh dang I'm excited. Check these ladies out, they're really cool.
It was kind of a weird thing to do late at night/ in the morning on Good Friday, but I was compelled, what can I say?

On another note, Father did a wonderful job with the Good Friday service today. It took almost 2 and a half hours!! Incredible.

"Behold, behold the wood of the cross on which is hung our salvation. Oh come, let us adore....."
We look forward to your ressurection Lord.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Randomly turning on CNN

Okay, I was at Joy's house today and before digging into our ordered sushi my dad turned the tv to CNN (because he's addicted to the news) and guess what was on? Larry King was interviewing 2 Catholic Priests, 2 Evangelical Pastors, and a guy that's going to be on this new reality tv show called "God or the Girl". They segment was described in the little reader window at the bottom of the screen as " a debate on celibacy and the priesthood and the new controversial show God or the Girl." Something like that anyways. So this show is going to be pretty much amazing. It's on A&E starting Easter Sunday evening. It follows the lives of 4 guys (who I feel like I know, 'cuz a bunch of my friends have lived what they're doing) who are discerning the Catholic priesthood, or married life. I guess at the end of the show some of the will probably end up in seminary. It's pretty sweet. It's funny the guy from the show that was being interviewed on Larry King lives in a house at his College with 9 Catholic guys and they call it "Fort Zion". Something tells me it's probably not too different than the Xavier house. But anyways that's really cool and if you want more info on it you can check out the website for the show.

I also went to Holy Thursday mass today at my home parish. Gosh I love St. Luke's . We received the Eucharist under both species by intinction today, no spoon, just Fr. dipping the host, but still cool, and really cool that we could receive kneeling. After mass Father processed the Eucharist to the Altar of Repose ( I can't remember if that's the proper name) and then we started adoration which would continue until midnight. Pretty sweet.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pencil to Paper

I was talking to a friend of mine and for some reason we got on the topic of drawing spontaneously. Here's what happens when I put my pencil to the paper and just go without any conscious thought. I don't know who the man is or why he is crying. I don't know what's in the middle of the cross. I'm assuming this woman is Mary. I did the man and the cross 2 or 3 years ago, Mary I drew about an hour ago.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fr. Benedict did you laugh?

Yesterday I got a chance to sit outside in downtown and read up on the Rule of St. Benedict. I actually got through around 6 chapters. It was kinda crazy to just plow through like that. It usually takes me a while to digest it all before I can understand what he's mind has to slow down into reflection mode. But if you read yesterday's blog you'd see I was in some weird post-Chrism mass ultra-focused state. The rule is great, but I'm just wondering why St. Benedict didn't like laughing.

"54. Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.

55. Not to love much or boisterous laughter."

I suppose it just goes along with the spirit of silence. Someone once talked to me about laughing and said that most of the time laughter is at the expense of someone else.....sort of. I don't know, I know monks that laugh.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sweet Renewal

7:30 am This morning I took the Train into downtown with mom.

8:15 ish Got off of the skytrain a stop after her. She went off to work. I went to Starbucks on Granville and I got a tall soy tazo chai latte and sat down to eat my chunk of Putinka for breakfast. Finished the putinka. Got up, still listening to my mp3 player with chai in hand and started towards the Cathedral. Finished the Chai right before I got to the door of the HRC and went inside. There were no trash cans inside the Cathedral foyer. Left the Cathedral walked half a block back in the direction I came from and finally found a trash can in front of Seattle's Best Coffee, which (fyi) is owned by Starbucks. Turned myself around once again and walked back to the Cathedral.

8:40ish Sit down in the Cathedral with a sigh of relief. Sanctuary, home, safety, loving arms. The old people in there were doing lauds. I plucked out my breivary to join them, then decided I'd better start out from the beginning properly and silently on my own than just jumping in the middle without the invitatory. Finished lauds and sat for a while. My heart has been a little achy for the past few days. My soul has been uneasy. I went to confession on Sunday, but it was after mass. I was particularly vulnerable .....the time between confession and your next mass....the perfect opportunity to screw up so that you'd have to refrain from receiving incredible amounts of grace.....the Eucharist and a spotless soul, perfect match, someone never wants that perfect match to be realized.

I sat for a while just allowing myself to be in the presence of the Lord. It has been a long time since I've allowed myself that joy. Nothing going on, just sitting and being with him. Not thinking, just opening up myself and being totally vulnerable to His love. I started my first 5 decades and St. Bridgets. So much more fruitful in His presence. I prayed so much for Him to heal my heart today. For Him to take it, battered and overexposed as I've let it become, and make it new again. To heal it, to mend it, to encase it in a walls of thorns like his heart. To just join it to His so that He could keep it protected because I was doing a terrible job of it myself. I felt such renewal at the end of that rosary today, just sitting with Him and asking Him to make me new. To fix me.

I got to the Cathedral 2 hours early. Perfect time to pick spots, right behind the priests and the people who work at the Chancery, in the center aisle. Perfect.

10:30 Mass of Chrism begins. Incense and over a hundred white garments pour in. Pipe organ and faithful voices mix through the air. Heavenly sounds, smells, and sight. Every priest in the archdiocese. Every hand that brings Christ to us, under one roof.
Lift High the Cross.
Latin Gloria.
Some man in the back begins to yell "Why is Jesus covered? Why have you covered him? Who do you think you are?" Cathedral ushers move to the back. "You Calm down, don't tell me to calm down. Why is he covered? Where is he?" Sounds like a struggle. "Who do you confess your sins to? Priests cannot forgive your sins! Only God can forgive your sins!!!" We continue singing .....bonae voluntatis......the shouting fades and peace is restored. Poor soul. He doesn't know about the mysticism and beauty of Christ's Church. Someone needs to utter those two words to help him understand.....Persona Christi....that's it. Rest your mind, it is not humans, but God working through us, using us.
Isaiah 61:1-9
Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. Beautiful four part harmony acapella for the psalm.
Revelation 1:4-8
Praise to you, Lord, King of eternal glory.
Luke 4:16-21
Today the prophecy has been fulfilled.

The archbishop did a wonderful job with his homily. Validated the priesthood and the joy it brings, emphasized being called and anointed, empowered the laity in the universal priesthood, and said he was proud to be the archbishop of such a fine group of priests. Amen. Thank God for the Vancouver Archdiocese. Blessing of the oils.

O Redeemer
Salve Mater Misericordiae (chant)
Ave Verum
Chacone in d minor
Ubi Caritas (Chant)
Salve Regina

To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King

12:00 Walking back to my mom's office for lunch was a bit surreal. Sometimes the streets of downtown Vancouver do that to me. More so after this mass. It felt like I had this beam of light bouncing my soul around inside my body so that I had to focus to keep myself walking straight. I found it difficult to not smile ridiculously while walking swiftly and with focus down Georgia St. I had a certain stride, and for those of you who know limpy Val with the 1cm shorter leg that's saying a lot. Strong Stride, Christ making His way into my bloodstream, Sun beaming down, making my way down Georgia Street. Ah sweet renewal, just in time for Holy Week. Thanks for our date Jesus.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Passion Sunday

Well we did three performances of the Passion "Prayer" (rather than play) this weekend at the tri-churches in the northwest corner. They went really well. The best performance was tonight's at St. Joe's. The cast stepped up tonight, emotions were running high, the mics and sound system were perfect, it was just great. Perfect way to start Holy Week. I'm so glad to be working for the Archdiocese, I get the whole week off and paid. So right now I'm at home relaxing. Mom came and picked me up after our last performance. It was so wonderful to sing with Monica and Fred again. Monica and I talked about getting the moving music ministry thing started up again. I think it's time to start thinking of ways to advertise our services to the Seattle and Vancouver Archdioceses. Music for Retreats, Reconciliation services, Weddings, Plays, Funerals and other special occaisions.
From the work side....we got our first group of schools in for Environmental Ed. This Wednesday. It was really fun. Incredibly exhausting, but fun. My day starts out getting up at 7am to get my teaching materials together and do my lauds. Then it's nonstop until 4:30 for an hour and a half break/ get your evening teaching materials together and then go until around 10:15. It's great fun though. This week was a short 3-day week. The week after Easter we only have one tiny school that's bringing up 14 kids, so that will be an easy chillax week. After that we're booked to max capacity with around 130 students plus teachers and chaperones every week until June. That's going to be nuts. Thank goodness for the 3 day weekends they give us.
Funny the camp that I work at has this climbing wall. But in order to make it inaccessable to kids if they're not supervised they have this rope ladder which leads up to the actual wall which they can take down and lock up when the climbing wall is closed. As part of our staff training we learned how to bilay people who were using the wall and got a chance to use the wall ourselves. I've never been on a climbing wall before....but dang I didn't think I'd be this bad. I literally could not get from the rope net/ladder thingy to the wall. I probably tried for a good 10 minutes and got really frustrated. It must have been pretty funny to watch. In any case, I may try to use any free opportunity I get to defeat this wall. I just want to get on the wall by the end of the season. Ha ha!
From my spiritual life standpoint. I'm doing alright. Morning lauds and compline are really helping me out. The chapel out there is really cool. No Jesus reserved, which is sad, but probably a good thing considering the chapel is often used like any other shelter at camp. Aside from that the acoustics in the building are amazing and it's just a simple and beautiful building. It's great for chanting the office. You ladies should come out sometime and join me :) And..yeah that's all for now. Kinda tired. I'm home for the week! Yay!!!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

First week

Oh wow....I'm soooooo tired. It was a really full week of training. I'm quite sad because we didn't finish until late this afternoon so I wasn't able to go check out the JPII blessed monstrance and head up to see the Sisters of Life. I would just go up now, but I have a rehearsal for the Passion Play tomorrow. Oh and for those of you who want to go, it's next weekend. There are three showings, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. I believe they're all at 7pm. If you want to know more about location etc. drop me a line and I'll get the info for you.

So here's the interesting thing about the camp that I work's CYO. It's sort of affiliated with the Seattle Archdiocese, and it says it's Catholic....but it's pretty mild. I'm excited to have mass every week with the Catholic school kids though, that should be cool. So staff seems pretty nice, I don't think we've quite bonded yet. Personally I'm having a bit of a difficult time adjusting because it's not the solid loud Catholics I'm used to and the forest programming is run differently than I'm used to. But fortunately all the content I'll be teaching is the same and the people I'm working with are nice. Basically I spend lots of my prayer time praying for their conversions. If you could do so as well I'm sure we'll see lots of progress. I got them to sing a Christian song last night while we were jamming on the guitar and they liked it.....slow progress, but it's exciting. Anyhow, I miss my family, I miss my parish, I miss my niece, and I miss my piano.....other than that things are going well. I'm sure once the kids get there on Wednesday things will start flying and it will be awesome. Thanks for the prayers, I really am feeling them even though this whole blog sounds like complaining. Oh and the reason I'm not blogging so much is because the internet access out there is limited and kinda I'll probably only be blogging on weekends.